Getting a Break and Other Stuff

I’m not sure if it’s the longer days, adding another medicine or making a change in my diet, but my depression is improving! The first day I felt better I cleaned my bathroom and I cleaned the cat box. I finally put away the clean laundry. I am showering and getting out more and I am sleeping less. My next goal is to clear the kitchen table so we can actually eat on it! I am still depressed, I wouldn’t call myself “normal” or as I like to call it balanced, but it a definite improvement!


Tyler is making his First Holy Communion in May and on Sunday it was “Jesus Day” from 9:30 to 2:00 where the kids attend a mass and then do an activity. Parents, relatives and Godparents are supposed to share by letters their First Communion memories, but all of my relatives are back east and Tyler doesn’t even remember them or his Godparents. Jacques is Catholic but he doesn’t remember his first communion, and the only thing I remember about it was loving my pretty white dress and excited to finally taste the communion wafers!

I had a hard time getting Tyler to go to Jesus Day. There are many things about the church that scare him including the big Jesus on the cross over the altar and the pictures in the stained glass windows. I tried to tell him that Jesus loves him and would never hurt him. I’m kind of out of ideas to relieve his anxiousness about the church and am open to suggestions!


One day a month Jacques and I eat a meal at our local Presbyterian church. We also eat a meal every Wednesday at the Methodist church to save us a little bit of money. I am always worried that we will never have enough. My SSDI/disability gets us by but we have little in the way of savings. At the Presbyterian church as I parked my car I saw a mother and her two children parking their bicycles. What did they do during the winter? Did they need to skip meals? I was struck by how grateful to God I was and how I take what I DO have for granted. I own my car and home and we never go hungry. I need to trust that when I need money I will have it.

Hope you all are as well as can be!


Tuesdays With Tyler: Losing My Religion

I am raising Tyler as a Catholic, like me.  I had him christened at three months old…and that is the last time he or I have ever been in a church.  For many years due to chronic illness I have been unable to attend Mass.  By the time Saturday evenings rolled around I was exhausted, in for the night, and mornings are the toughest for me; for pain, brain function, fatigue, etc.  I used to attend church weekly; dressed nicely with hair and makeup done, and now just doing those things is enough to ruin me for the day.

After feeling guilty for many years, I had made my peace with it.  It wasn’t like I was spending Saturday nights out on the town or heading to the beach on Sunday mornings.  I was just…resting.

And then came Tyler.

I knew I wanted to raise him in the church and I figured I was somehow going to HAVE to find the will to get him there.

He is now six.  And really needs to start CCD next year.

I think I am feeling well enough to try to take him to church, only now, no real surprise here, he doesn’t want to go.

Lately he has been expressing interest in religions.  How does Orthodox Judaism differ from other Judaic religions?  What is the difference between being a Christian and being a Catholic?  (Yep, I’ve got a budding genius on my hands.)

It seems like the perfect time to start going to Mass on a regular basis but when I talk about trying out a service after our Saturday activities or attending a Sunday school class to learn more about God and Jesus, Tyler says, “Maybe next week, Mommy.”

It would have been so much easier to have just taken him to Mass from when he was a baby, when he had no choice in the matter, but I just wasn’t feeling well enough at the time.

Lots of Chronically Ill and Catholic Mom guilt here.

As a child I remember being at Mass with a bunch of little children’s religious books which I would read to pass away the hour that I did not understand.  Music was always the best part of the Mass for me and I started singing in the Children’s Choir when I was ten.  I did Folk Group in junior high and also sung in the Adult Choir.

At some point I guess I am just going to have to drag Tyler to church, and soon.

I just hope I have the energy.

Photo Courtesy of Living-The-Mission (Wiki)


The Advent Calendar That Will Probably Doom Me to Hell

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 3.  The first day of December is upon us!  Describe an Advent calendar or a special way you count down days until Christmas (past or present).  Inspired by (Classy Chaos)

For years, long before Tyler was born, I had a cute wooden fireplace with numbers that as each day you pulled one out, Santa would move closer to the chimney until on that last day before Christmas little Santa was in your fireplace.  But that’s 24 numbers to take care of and it was a Christmas miracle in itself that we held onto all those numbers as long we did, especially with both cats and a child to occasionally knock the fireplace over and to play around with those numbers.

This year I was determined to buy an Advent calendar a little closer to the true meaning of the season and then I saw this:


The Fisher-Price Imaginext Advent Calendar in which, according to Fisher-Price:  “Combines the excitement of Imaginext and the holidays with a fully assembled Advent calendar!”

I knew that Tyler would love it but I hesitated.  It was about as far away from the true meaning of the season as you could get.  I waited on it.

Already a typical man at five, Tyler likes to look at a magazine or catalog when he “does his business” in the bathroom.  One day he asked for a magazine and I handed him the Fisher-Price Holiday Catalog.  After spending a fair amount of time in the bathroom, Tyler came out and said, “Mommy, I want this for Christmas”, pointing to the Imaginext Advent Calendar.

My mind was made up.  I can’t wait until he comes home from school tonight and we show it to him.

Yes, I will have made my little boy very happy.  But I probably haven’t exactly scored many points with God and Jesus.

Holding My Son’s Hand

Tonight you sleep next to me because you spilled water all over your bed.

You have trouble getting to sleep because something I have read to you has scared you.  It amazes me what actually scares you and what I think should scare you.

You want to sleep with the lights on but I offer to hold your hand instead.  As we lay there in the dark holding hands I know our times like this are numbered, even though you are only five.

“Do you feel the circle of love that goes around between us when we hold hands?” I ask you.

“No, I don’t feel it.”

“It goes around and around like a mother’s love for her son, around and around like a circle and endless.  You won’t always want to hold my hand so every time you do like this, I treasure it.”

“No that’s not true, I always will want to hold your hand!”

“Okay, honey, you can always hold my hand.  You can stay with us as long as you like.  You can always be with us.”

“I won’t ever want to leave you, I want to live in this house forever.”

“Of course, you never have to leave us, you can live with us as long as you like.”

I say these words to you, knowing that some day it will not be true, so I treasure this time in your life when you think it will be.

I thank God and Jesus once again for giving me you, the most beautiful and best boy in the world and while I am thinking about it, whispering my prayer of thanks in the dark, you have fallen asleep peacefully besides me, still holding my hand.



The School Called

Yesterday afternoon I woke up from my nap about half an hour before Tyler gets home from school. Grant was just sitting on the couch.  “You better sit down”, he said.  I didn’t get my disability, someone has died, are the thoughts running through my head.  “Tyler’s teacher called”, Grant said slowly.  She said that Tyler has been disruptive to the class, taking the form of him making explosive type noises and movements throughout the day, and not being able to stand in a line.  She said she was unable to tell if this was his OCD or Tourette’s as he was not being destructive towards others, it was all directed to himself.  She also said he was delayed in his fine and gross motor skills.  Grant said she was very nice and that she really liked Tyler.

“We meet with the school on Wednesday”, he told me.  I was in shock and I said, “For what?” “To see how we can help Tyler.”

I felt angry at the teacher.  We had been having problems with Tyler at home, mostly with anger, but when I met face to face with her two weeks ago on Back to School Night, she assured me that Tyler was doing well in school!  We had been so relieved.  To everyone who would ask I would say, “Knock on wood and thank God, there has been no trouble at school.”  We were thanking whatever lucky stars we had that Tyler seemed to be able to handle a “normal” education.  Just yesterday I had made an appointment with a child psychologist.

I told her, “Tyler is an angel about 90% of the time, the other 10% is a big problem.”

And now I feel like a walking zombie knowing that what I told her yesterday was not the truth.

I know my anger is misguided but I want to yell at the teacher, “How did you look at me two weeks ago and tell me there were no problems with my child?  Why did you let me think that??”

I realize that this teacher is one who has been teaching kindergarten for over 35 years and that her approach was to try to diffuse the situation herself, and her calling us yesterday was her saying “I cannot do this alone.”  But I can’t help feeling angry!  She let us think there were NO PROBLEMS at school with Tyler!  She allowed us to breathe false sighs of relief, to live in a state of ignorance!

Gross and fine motor skills??  Yes, I knew that Tyler was behind but I have been seeing improvements that she could never see, not knowing him for that long.  I see the way his writing has improved and how his artwork is getting better.  I watch him use the grownup scissors when we do his homework and am amazed at how well he cuts with them!  For godsakes, this is just kindergarten, and he has only turned five a month ago, just how advanced is he supposed to be??

Doesn’t she know how smart Tyler is?  All I have ever heard from teachers and ordinary people was that Tyler was an extremely smart child, a special person.  How funny he is? How empathic?  How strangers’ mouths drop open or how they laugh when they hear my son speak?

Where is that boy in all of this???

Grant and I had no time to grieve.  It was time to go to the bus stop.  We both want to shut down, or at the very least, call our friends and family, but we are up against a three day weekend and how are we going to talk about Tyler when he will be with us all weekend long?

I feel so thankful that I have this blog, this outlet for me.  Where I can get it out and let the tears fall as I write these words.

Last night we questioned Tyler about the explosive noises.  We gave him very little explanation and he knew exactly what we were talking about.  We stressed that we were not mad at him, for him to just tell us the truth.  “Tyler”, Grant asked, “Can you stop doing those things at school or do you feel you have to do them?”  “I can’t stop it.  I have to do it, daddy.”

Maybe this is strange but I felt a bit of relief at that statement.  Tyler is not being “bad”.  It is either a tic or his OCD.  We can help him, this is not a new diagnosis, he is not a “bad kid”.

A large part of me wants to scream at God Why?? Isn’t it enough that Grant and I are disabled? Why did you have to saddle my child with a whole other set of disabilities that for the most part are very different from our own?  How are we supposed to deal with this when we are already so taxed with our own sicknesses and the poverty and stress that come with them? How can you throw this at us too?

One thing we do have going for us is that Grant used to be a Consumer Advocate for children with disabilities, and we have that knowledge going into this meeting what the school is obligated to do for us.

Until then, and especially this weekend, I need to put this news behind me and concentrate as always on giving Tyler the unconditional love he needs and making my head rule my body as I must keep on going, keep on doing the normal weekend stuff and going forward with the plans we had this weekend, like going to our local farm’s annual Fall Festival.

There is nothing I can do this weekend, nothing I can do until Wednesday, except to continue to strive to give Tyler the childhood and life he so very much deserves, as much as my disabilities or money will allow.

And this weekend, keeping it all together is the most important thing I have to do…for my son.